Riot Fest at Humboldt Park

Riot Fest Chicago

Age: All ages

Tickets: Get’em

Venue: Humboldt Park

Announced late Tuesday, the three-day rock, punk, and hip-hop festival, which runs September 12-14 in Humboldt Park, also features headliners Rise Against, Social Distortion, The Flaming Lips, Weezer, and Wu-Tang Clan.

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina, the two Russian women who were recently freed from prison after being jailed for their 2012 protest performance in a Moscow cathedral, will also appear in a “special interactive panel discussion.” As members of the dissident punk group Pussy Riot, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina have been lobbying Congress to add nearly 20 Russian officials to a list of human rights violators, and have been touring the U.S. raising awareness about human rights abuses in their home country.

Also newsworthy is the return of Wu-Tang Clan, the influential hip-hop collective that rarely performs live together, but has spawned the careers of legendary MCs Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, RZA, among others. The group is preparing the release of a comeback album later this year.

Also appearing this year in Humboldt Park: Slayer, Descendents, Tegan and Sara, Metric, Patti Smith, Taking Back Sunday, Die Antwoord, Paul Weller, NOFX, Gogol Bordello, The Afghan Whigs, Lucero, The Dandy Warhols, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Hot Snakes, The Get Up Kids, Mudhoney, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Superchunk, Billy Bragg, New Found Glory, Andrew W.K., Kurt Vile and the Violators, Marky Ramone with the Bouncing Souls, Wavves, Anti-Flag, Of Mice and Men, The Murder City Devils, Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, Clutch, Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, Dashboard Confessional, and many others. Shock metal legends GWAR is also on the bill, despite the recent death of lead singer Dave Brockie.

Rockford’s pioneering pop band Cheap Trick is also on the bill. Other Chicago area bands include Naked Raygun, The Orwells, Archie Powell & The Exports, and My Gold Mask.

The festival will mark a reunion of Samhain, the horror punk band helmed by Glen Danzig in the mid-1980s after his tenure in the Misfits and before he launched Danzig. The weekend will also feature a reunion of pop-punk band The Offspring, celebrating its 20th year.

This is Riot Fest’s third year in Humboldt Park, and the 10th year overall for the festival, which has grown in stature, now featuring companion festivals in Denver and Toronto.

Most notable about this year’s line-up is its top-heavy list of major headliners, which dwarfs Lollapalooza, a much larger festival that takes place in Grant Park one month earlier. With just about four marquee names atop its bill, this year’s Lollapalooza’s line-up has been criticized for its lack of star power; Riot Fest claims two of that festival’s headliners (The Cure and The National) from last year and even Perry Farrell, Lollapalooza’s patron saint who will appear at Riot Fest with his band Jane’s Addiction.

Festival organizers promise more band announcements are coming. Tickets are currently on sale via A three-day pass is $99.98. According to the website, three-day prices will rise over the summer, reaching $189.98. The $289.98 VIP package includes beverage tickets, access to special viewing privileges — and perhaps most importantly —private restrooms.

Kevin Baker

Kevin Baker


Chicago Music

 | Musician | Technophilia |

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